Six Injured As Hindu Militants Attack Evangelical Church In Karnataka

Sunday, May 6, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- A tense calm returned to a small town in the southern Indian state of Karnataka after at least six people were injured Sunday, May 6, when suspected Hindu militants demanding the closure of a new church attacked evangelical Christians following a worship service, investigators told BosNewsLife.

One of India's main Christian advocacy groups, the Global Council of Indian Christians(GCIC), said the militants beat up at least "six Christian believers" linked to the "newly dedicated" evangelical Marthoma Church in the town of Narasapur in Kolar District, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the state's capital Bangalore.

Sunday morning, May 6, at about 10am [local time] believers leaving the worship service of the Marthoma Church were intimidated by "a mob of 60 [or] 70 persons with saffron flags and headbands" who shouted slogans against "Christian believers and demanded that the church should be closed down within ten days," explained GCIC President Sajan George. It was not immediately clear which group or groups were responsible for the violence.


Besides "abusing" believers, they destroyed the electric connection to the church, according to GCIC investigators. The "radicals" also demanded the hand over of the church evangelists, identified as JayaRaj and James, George added. After they were informed the evangelists had already left to worship in another, nearby, congregation, the militants reportedly used vehicles to rush to the other church, the Baelemananahalli church.

After the Baelemananahalli leadership failed to hand over the evangelists, several Christians, including men identified only as Santosh, Philip, Govindappa and another woman were injured when they were beaten as well, GCIC's George claimed.

The militants later continued to beat up two Christian boys in the village where JayaRaj and James live, after the evangelists failed to meet an afternoon deadline to appear before the angry Hindu mob, GCIC investigators said.


In addition the land lords of Ev. Jayaraj and James were reportedly ordered to vacate the tenants within 10 days and hand over the evangelists to the militants. By late Sunday, May 6, local police allegedly did not yet intervene. Officials could not immediately be reached for more comments.

"We condemn [the] brutal attack of Christians in Karnataka. We are shocked to see the neglect and indifference to the minuscule Christians. The political dispensation of the state is stroking fires of communalism and division of the society," George said. "We urge [the] international community to stand for truth and justice." The reported Karnataka violence was the latest in a series of incidents linked to Hindu militants targeting Christians in several areas of India.

There has been growing frustration among the spread of Christianity in especially rural regions. Nearly 65 percent of Christians in India belong to low caste and tribal groups, including the Dalits, according to estimates. Christians comprise just over two percent of the over 1.1 billion strong population of India. (With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos reporting and BosNewsLife Research).

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